Around 675,000 Migrants in Sweden Not Self-Sufficient in Work, Receive State Benefits

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Around 675,000 migrants living in Sweden are either on welfare benefits or are not able to support themselves through the work they do have, according to statistics from the Swedish Parliamentary Investigative Service (RUT).

The figures were highlighted in a recent detailed report on migration and integration presented by the centre-right Moderate Party that states the figure, which was recorded in 2019, means that a large section of the migrant population makes less than 186,000 Swedish Kronor (£15,890/$21,852) per year.

The report also cites another study by the Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum that revealed that between 1990 and 2016, it took migrants an average of four to five years to find a job and more than ten years for just half of new arrivals to find self-sufficient work.

When the figures are broken down by the nationality of recently arrived migrants, some perform especially poorly when it comes to self-sufficiency, such as Somalians who, according to the report, averaged a work income of just 100 Kronor (£8.54/$11.75) a month in 2019.

Syrians, who made up the majority of migrants who arrived during the 2015 Europe migrant crisis, saw an average 2019 work income of just under 4,000 Swedish Kronor (£341/$470) per month.

When separated by gender, the results are even worse for women, with over half of the women who came to Sweden from Somalia or Lebanon in the last nine years earning zero Swedish Kronor per month in 2019.

The statistics contained in the report match prior studies and reports that have revealed a much higher unemployment rate for migrants compared to native-born Swedes.

Many reasons have been cited for the high unemployment rate among migrants in Sweden, including reports that nearly half of unemployed migrants lack a high school education, compared to 18 per cent of unemployed native Swedes. Language barriers have also been cited.

A report from February of last year from the Swedish employment service revealed that just 6.1 per cent of new arrival migrants were able to find full-time work that was not subsidised by the Swedish government in 2019.

In October of last year, Swedish economics professor Johan Eklund criticised the Swedish government’s failure to integrate migrants who came during the 2015 migrant crisis, saying: “I am not prepared to point the finger in any direction about whose failure it is. But as an economist, I react to the fact that there are thousands of individuals of working age who have no income whatsoever.”

“This is a burden to society. The dependency on grants is a socio-economic cost. There is also the question of what happens to individuals who do not participate in society?” Eklund added.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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